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Franciacorta vs Champagne

October 27, 2009 Tags: 0 comments
Bob Tyrer, in an article published on the Times wrote that the best prosecco needs no peaches to outshine champagne at twice the price (he has chosen our Prosecco as his favourite if you did not know) so imagine what a good Franciacorta can do. Franciacorta is the Italian for Champagne, a sparkling wine made using the classic method, with the second fermentation in the bottle.

I love the bollicine, Italian for sparkling wines, because amongst other things, are wines that complement a wide variety of dishes, from starter to desserts and can also be served as an aperitif, so take you all the way from start to finish. I was recently given a bottle of Champagne, the Lanson Black Label, a champagne costing about £25 per bottle. Sunday, as every other Sunday, we open our bottle of bollicine and we would have opened a Franciacorta if we did not have the Champagne. I don't think I ever had a bottle of Lanson before, had plenty of other champagnes, so was not sure what to expect. I opened the wine, poured it in the glass and the first disappointment. It had a very weak nose and there were no sign of the toast, bread, patisseries aromas that I was expecting. All it had was a feeble fruity nose with green apples. In the mouth, the acidity, well too much, covered everything else, with none of the structure and richness that you would expect from a Champagne. Someone could suggest that it needed time but I don't think so, there was nothing to balance it.

We only had a sip and decided to throw the rest of the champagne in the sink. After this very disappointing experience, we opened a bottle of Franciacorta and what an experience. For the same price, what a better wine. All you expect from a proper champagne. Franciacorta wines are made using Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco and Pinot Nero grapes grown in the Brescia province, with a yield per hectare of 100 ql against the 120-144 ql of the Champagne and a minimum ageing of 18 months against the 15 months of the champagne. Using Bob Tyrer words, a good Franciacorta can outshine Champagne at twice the price.

While I was looking on the internet for the tasting notes prepared by Lanson to see what I should have drunk, I have also noticed that all websites selling the champagne, from Tesco to Waitrose to independents, have the same tasting notes; it appears that all Master of Wines and importers never actually tasted the wine or if they did, they thought it was better to use the producer's notes to sell the wine.
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